Friday Song: “Outlaw Pete”

A parable about living with your sins, this 2009 song hits home, and even spawned a graphic novel

The opening lines of this song are priceless:

He was born a little baby on the Appalachian Trail
At six months old, he’d done three months in jail
He robbed a bank in his diapers and his little bare baby feet
All he said was, “Folks, my name is Outlaw Pete.”

Clocking in at over eight minutes, this sweeping, strange, and moving confection is Bruce Springsteen’s longest song since 1980’s “Drive All Night” off The River.

Although it was never released as a single, and never charted, it opened Springsteen’s #1 album from 2009, Working on a Dream, and was immediately embraced by his fans. As you can see from the crowd in this live performance, it was already a well-known song, and one that absolutely killed live.

In 2014, Springsteen published a graphic novel featuring the character and an extended story with illustrations by Frank Caruso.

The plaintive cry of the song is a perfect haunting refrain:

Can you hear me?